Volleyball: Hawaii wins in three on Senior Night

The Wahine sweep San Jose State in front of a sellout crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center.

HONOLULU - The No. 2 University of Hawai`i Rainbow Wahine (27-1, 13-0 WAC) swept through the San Jose State Spartans (8-17, 6-7 WAC) 30-25, 30-24 and 30-27 in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,300 at the Stan Sheriff Center Saturday, playing their final regular season home match of 2003.

Kim Willoughby closed her career at home in style, putting away 21 kills and four aces while hitting .515. Lily Kahumoku added 10 kills, six digs and three blocks while fellow senior Lauren Duggins hit .471 with nine kills, nine digs and five blocks. Nohealani Tano and Melissa Villaroman also had solid senior nights, as Tano put away eight kills and eight digs while Villaroman had a match-high 15 digs on the night. Maja Gustin ended up with six kills and an ace in two games while Karin Lundqvist had one kill, two digs and a block in one game.

Willoughby served notice that she would be ready to put on a big show early on as she pounded a kill for the first point of the match. The Spartans kept it close at 6-5 before Willoughby capped a quick 3-0 run with consecutive aces to extend the lead to 9-5. SJSU fought back to earn a tie at 17 before a big 7-1 UH run on the serves of Willoughby and Gustin put the Rainbow Wahine up 24-18. Gustin would then do her part, putting away the final two Hawai`i points of game one, pushing UH to a 30-25 win.

San Jose State took an early 3-1 lead to start game two before Willoughy took over, recording five kills in UH's first eight points, putting the Rainbow Wahine up 8-3. From there, UH didn't allow the Spartans within three points, taking a big 28-20 lead before eventually taking the second game 30-24.

The Spartans jumped out to leads of 4-1 and 9-5 early in game three bfore Ashley Watanabe came off the bench to provide a spark, serving UH to a 9-9 tie. SJSU kep the pressure on, building a lead of 18-13 on the tough serve of Danielle Lewis before Willoughby again took over. But this time, the Louisiana native took over with her serve, picking up two aces in a 6-0 run that put the Rainbow Wahine up 19-18. The Spartans kept it tight throughout as a Dyana Thompson kill kept the game at 28-27. But the class of 2003 was not to be denied as seniors Tano and Duggins put away the final two kills of the night, giving UH the 30-27 win in game three.

Hawai`i will now head to Reno, Nev., for the WAC tournament, where they will be matched up with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Friday, Nov. 21, in the first round.

You can hear that match live on KKEA 1420 AM beginning at 3:15 p.m. Hawaii time. You can log on to the internet at: www.kkea1420am.com.

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